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Should I upgrade to Office 2010?

October 17, 2011

As someone who teaches all levels of MS Office, I often get questions from students whether they should upgrade or not.  My attitude is that if you’re self-employed, you can get away with almost any version of the program.  If you are exchanging data files with others you’re still ok even if you have an older version such as 2002 or 2003.  You may need to download an upgrade to open the more advanced versions.

You won’t be able to edit some of the more advanced functions in these programs.  Also, if you have a client with a HUGE spreadsheet, there is a big difference of 1,000 columns (instead of about 240) and a million rows instead of 66,000 (these #s are approximate).

If you’re exchanging data with cutting edge clients, I’d say go for the upgrade.  If you’re an author writing poetry, any version will be sufficient.  If you need a menu typed up every day for you restaurant, you’ll also be ok.

For career people, I’d say it is a good idea to know both the 2007/2010 and the 2002/2003 platforms.  Many companies are still using the older versions (too much $$ to upgrade!).  There are many differences between the 2 versions.  The most significant is that graphics are significantly richer in the newer ones.  With Excel, the charts are more elegant, nicer color schemes, etc.  With Word and PowerPoint, you can utilize SmartArt, perform a lot more functions with your graphics from drop shadows to borders, etc.  For personal use in PowerPoint, you can create a photo album from photos uploaded to your computer.

With today’s competitive job market, it cannot hurt to indicate proficiency in the most recent software.  It shows that not only are you keeping your skills current, but that you are computer proficient and knowledgeable about current technology trends.  This is critical for mature people in the workforce.

Microsoft has become more competitive with their pricing of the programs so that they can get more buyers.  If you’re a student or educator, you can purchase this program at an even more substantial discount from

From → Excel, PC tips

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